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Hall ranks among most prosperous counties in state

POSTED: January 15, 2008 5:03 a.m.
Hall County has joined a list of Georgia’s 18 most prosperous counties, according to a report issued by the Department of Community Affairs.

In an upside-down ranking, where first is worst, Hall ranks 144th out of the state’s 159 counties.

Neighboring Forsyth County is the most prosperous at 159.

The ranking is an indication that statistical measures for unemployment, per capita income and poverty are better in Hall County than in 143 other counties throughout the state.

The criteria for the ranking are set by law, and the department uses the ranking to divide Georgia’s counties into four tiers as required by the Georgia Job Tax Credit Law.

As with the ranking, counties in Tier 1 are the poorest, while those in Tier 4 are the most prosperous. Hall moves up to Tier 4 from Tier 3.

"This new ranking for Hall County provides a confirmation that we have improved in some of our basic economic indicators relative to other Georgia counties, but it will also impact our competitive position as a regional center for some new job creation and investment," said Tim
Evans, vice president of economic development for the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce.

But there is a downside to the new ranking.

Hall will lose some tax incentives for job creation that it enjoyed in its previous Tier 3 ranking.

New and expanding firms will face a higher job creation threshold to be eligible for a reduced tax credit for each new full-time job created.

Under the previous ranking, new and expanding businesses that created at least 15 new jobs in Hall County were eligible for a $1,250 per job tax credit.

Under the new ranking, a firm must create at least 25 new full-time jobs in Hall County to be eligible for a $750 per job tax credit.

However, the state is giving businesses that have plans to expand in 2008 an opportunity to take advantage of the higher tax credit if they act by Jan. 31.

The exemption gives businesses currently planning job creation of at least 15 new jobs in 2008, 2009 or 2010 a chance to preserve the 2007 benefits by filing a notice with the state by the end of the month.

Evans said there is no penalty for businesses that apply for the tax credit and do not make their planned expansion.

"We are encouraging our existing industries who may be looking at expansion of their work force in the next three years to apply for the exemption this month," Evans said.

In Tier 1 counties, the state’s 40 poorest counties, a $3,500 credit is available to businesses creating at least five new jobs

The credits are applied against a firm’s annual corporate income tax due to the state of Georgia and can be carried forward for 10 years.

Manufacturing, processing, distribution, headquarters, research and development and tourism industries are eligible for the credit.

The neighboring counties of Banks, Dawson, Gwinnett and Forsyth are included in the Tier 4 ranking.

Habersham, Jackson, Lumpkin and White are Tier 3 counties.



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